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Wynn asks judge to order Fontainebleau to immediately stop poaching its execs

Updated April 8, 2024 - 7:35 pm

Wynn Las Vegas is asking a Clark County District Court judge to order Fontainebleau to immediately stop poaching its executives.

Wynn attorneys included new details about its accusation that Fontainebleau has repeatedly contacted Wynn executives bound by noncompete clauses to convince them to quit and go to work for the new resort in a new motion filed Friday. Judge Mark Denton of Clark County’s business court is expected to rule on the preliminary injunction within 30 days.

In at least one case mentioned in the filing, Fontainebleau offered to nearly double the salary of a Wynn executive to convince him to jump ship.

“Fontainebleau has repeatedly interfered with, and attempted to interfere with, Wynn’s employment agreements,” the motion says. “Given its history, it is likely to continue to do so. For these reasons, Wynn asks this court to enjoin the Fontainebleau defendants from interfering with Wynn’s contractual relationships, including by soliciting third parties to break contractual agreements with Wynn or to refrain from entering into prospective contractual agreements with Wynn.”

Fontainebleau officials declined to comment on the litigation.

Wynn initially filed a lawsuit against Fontainebleau on Feb. 29.

Wynn says Fontainebleau has been persistent with its efforts to convince employees to change teams.

Wayne Crane, senior executive director of entertainment for Wynn Nightlife, was one of the most recent Fontainebleau targets. In the motion, Crane said he began working for Wynn in April 2010 and built a career there over the next 14 years.

In January, Michael Waltman, senior vice president of nightlife at Fontainebleau, called Crane, with whom he had maintained a friendly relationship. Waltman told Crane he was “not appreciated over there” at Wynn and asked him what it would take to bring him over to Fontainebleau, the new motions states.

Crane, who said he was content at Wynn, said he was always open to new opportunities, especially for a substantial salary boost.

Crane was told Fontainebleau would work around the noncompete clause by assigning him to Fontainebleau’s Miami operation. But the motion also states Crane was told he wouldn’t have to move to Miami and that he could oversee both Miami and Las Vegas from Southern Nevada. Crane was reportedly offered nearly double the salary he made at Wynn.

“The arrangement had a feeling like it was ‘smoke and mirrors’ to get around the noncompete, but I was comfortable as long as Fontainebleau provided me with indemnity protection,” if Wynn opted to sue him and Fontainebleau, he said in the motion.

Crane said in the motion that he signed on with Fontainebleau on Feb. 13, agreeing to start there in early March. When he notified his Wynn superiors, he told them he had received an offer from Fontainebleau, but not that he had accepted the job.

That led to several Wynn executives meeting with him to convince him to stay and that resulted in Wynn offering Crane a new three-year contract at a significantly higher pay rate, the motion stated. Crane took the Wynn deal and signed the new contract.

Experts have said noncompete clauses are banned in some states, but not in Nevada. It’s unclear whether the Wynn lawsuit would bring about change in contractual policy.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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